WITH THE aim to build a better information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Jamaica, the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) is aggressively targeting students from the early stage of their development to ensure that they are fully equipped with the necessary technological skills to function in the global job market.
Speaking last week Thursday at the first of a two-part panel discussion on 'Building a Better ICT Sector' at Hotel Four Seasons in St Andrew, JCS president Dean Smith noted that they were setting up a number of campus chapters at tertiary institutions to get the future generation more tech-savvy and equipped with the necessary analytical skills to effectively operate in an information technology (IT) driven world.
"Jamaica could find itself in a crisis of having an ICT sector incapable of supporting a nation with significant economic growth or unable to adequately assist with finding our way on the global stage. We need to change that," noted Smith, who moderated the discussion at the first members' meeting for the year.
Smith said another issue that needed to be seriously addressed was the fact that, despite the Government being the largest sector, it was not the most efficient user of IT.
The panellists of Arnett Campbell, head of the School of Computer and Information Technology at the University of Technology; Professor Evan Duggan, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies; and Pat Tomlinson, services and solutions manager at IBM, reviewed Jamaica's current ICT sector and examined ways it could be improved.
Duggan said Jamaica was at a crossroads in the IT sector for some time, but has not been able to make an effective transition.
Acknowledging that the country could not grow the ICT sector by focusing on the Kingston and St. Andrew metropolitan region, Campbell said it was important to set up centres right across Jamaica.
Tomlinson believed Jamaica needed to build a pool of skilled IT specialists, to be added to a global pool of resources that could be pulled on from anywhere in the world.
Celebrating 40 years, JCS will host part two of the discussion at the JCS BizTech Conference and Showcase 2013 during October 24 to 26.